Washington January 17, 2019
There’s A Winery Inside This Historic Washington Schoolhouse, And You’ll Want To Visit
If you’ve ever driven to Walla Walla, you may have noticed a unique building near Highway 12 just outside the city — one that looks like an old schoolhouse. Not only is it, in fact, a century-old historic school, but it’s home to some of the best wine on the planet. But whether or not you imbibe, you should check out L’Ecole No. 41 the next time you’re in town.
L'Ecole No. 41 is located at 41 Lowden School Road in the tiny community of Frenchtown, just outside of Walla Walla.
And while it has been L'Ecole winery since 1983, long before that, it was the Lowden School.
The original Frenchtown School was a log cabin built in 1870. In 1915, it was rebuilt here as the Lowden School.
Frenchtown was named after the many French Canadians who settled in the Walla Walla Valley during the early 1800s, many bringing their winemaking skills with them. The winery name, L’Ecole No. 41, is French for 'the school' (located in school district 41). It was chosen to salute our early winemakers.
The Lowden School closed in 1974 due to a dwindling local population. Luckily, it has been well-preserved in its new form.
Guests are invited to ring the old school bell as they enter, announcing their presence.
When you step inside, prepare to be impressed.
When the Ferguson family bought the schoolhouse with an intent to open a winery, they also decided to preserve as much of the historic charm as possible.
Throughout the two-story schoolhouse, you'll find original chalkboards, light fixtures, fir floors, and moldings.
Go down to the cellar to see an amazing restored mural, originally hand-painted by the school children for their Christmas pageant.
The tasting room is located in an old classroom.
But there are no pop quizzes here -- just popping bottles.
L’Ecole is known for producing some of the top wines in the state. Even if you don't think you like wine, you should taste some here.
Tastings are $10, which is refunded with a bottle purchase. And if you end up joining the wine club (which you might), you can taste for free.
L'Ecole No. 41 Winery is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., except on major holidays.
If you call ahead, you can schedule a personal tour of the schoolhouse and a private tasting with your group.
The Walla Walla Valley is full of beautiful wineries.
This one will even host you overnight.